Republican Scott Brown's bid to return to the U.S. Senate received a boost on Tuesday when he received the endorsement of Bob Preston, a onetime Democratic leader of the New Hampshire State Senate.
Preston, who served in the state Senate in the 1970s and 1980s, announced his support for Brown in an open letter that criticizes incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for "her blind allegiance to the Obama administration." The letter accuses Shaheen of working with President Barack Obama to drive up the national debt. Preston also says that Shaheen has been unable to address problems such as controversies at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the IRS, as well as the country's immigration crisis.
Brown, he adds, would bring "common sense and independence" to Washington. "I believe his public service, his many years in the military, and a family person himself qualify him to be our next U.S. Senator," Preston writes. "I believe his leadership and decision-making will change the course of this country for the better."
The endorsement from Preston, who spent 18 years in the state Senate, comes as Shaheen struggles to maintain her lead over Brown in the final days before the election. HuffPost's Pollster average, which combines all publicly available polling, shows Shaheen ahead by just two points, a margin that has shrunk considerably in recent weeks.
Even more problematic for Shaheen is the fact that Preston's letter supports Brown's strategy of linking her to Obama, whose favorability remains at an all-time low in New Hampshire. Brown, who previously served as a senator from Massachusetts, has sought to cast himself as an independent. Support for Brown from an influential name like Preston can only do further damage to Shaheen at a time when she can least afford to take a hit.
Brown isn't the first Republican candidate endorsed by Preston in recent years. In 2012, Preston endorsed GOP candidate Ovide Lamontagne for governor of New Hampshire.
Shaheen touted her own endorsement from a member of the opposing party on Tuesday. Amy LaBelle, a small business owner who is a registered Republican, said Shaheen is the "clear choice" at an event in Amherst.
"Scott Brown’s record shows that he’s only interested in himself and in the big money corporate donors who fund his campaign," LaBelle said at the event, which was part of a statewide get out the vote tour by Shaheen.
Read Preston's full letter endorsing Brown below:
This coming election on November 4th is critical and an opportunity to change the direction of this country. Lack of leadership and decision making in Washington makes us look like a rudderless ship on domestic and international waters. It is time to change.
Once looked up as the strongest and most respected democracy in the world, we are now scoffed at by some world leaders.
Domestically, scandals occur in the Veterans Administration. Corruption has been uncovered in the IRS. No action has been taken to address the immigration problem. U.S. citizens forced into a health program against their wished that cost them more money as the administration walks us toward socialized medicine.
With all due respect to Senator Shaheen, she has not been able to address these problem and has gone along to get along with President Obama increasing the budget deficit until each American family is not in debt nationally in excess of $150,000.
Mrs. Shaheen served the state of New Hampshire well as state senator and governor, and I commend her for that. However, her blind allegiance to the Obama administration has resulted in the problems our nation faces today.
As a veteran, a former state senator, a businessman, and family man proud of New Hampshire and our country, I am looking for a change in leadership in Washington.
For those reasons, I urge voters to support Scott Brown for U.S. Senator on November 4th.
I believe his public service, his many years in the military, and a family person himself qualify him to be our next U.S. Senator. I sincerely believe his common sense and independence in Washington will be better for New Hampshire and our nation. I believe his leadership and decision-making will change the course of this country for the better.
I encourage citizens to get out and vote on November 4th and cast your vote for Scott Brown.
This story has been updated to include Amy LaBelle's appearance at a Shaheen event on Tuesday.